It is a little more than three years before the NBA’s current collective bargaining agreement, accepted after a five-month lockout in 2011, can be tinkered with — only after the 2016-17 season can either the league or the union exercise its opt-out on the deal.
So it may be premature to mention this, but hidden in the details of the league’s day-to-day business in recent months has been this fact: The groundwork is already being laid for another lockout.
That is the consensus among league executives and prominent agents. But it is articulated particularly well by Charles Grantham, who worked for the union from 1978-95, serving as its executive director for the last seven of those years (he left a year before Billy Hunter, who was deposed last year amid scandal, took over). No replacement for Hunter has been named, and that’s just one element feeding lockout fears.